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Golden Canyon Trail to Red Cathedral

MODERATE 178 reviews

Golden Canyon Trail to Red Cathedral is a 2.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Death Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from October until March.

Distance: 2.9 miles Elevation Gain: 574 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

cave

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no shade

no dogs

The Golden Canyon Trail is a short hike up Golden Canyon to the base of the Red Cathedral formations. This is a popular day-hike that starts at a marked trailhead with parking on Badwater Rd., just south of Furnace Creek. The first mile of the the trail is a mild hike up a canyon surrounded on all sides by golden rock formations and slot canyons. After mile one reaches a junction for the Gower Gulch trail. Continue past this point into a narrow slot canyon. The trail becomes more difficult here, requiring one to scramble over rocks until reaching the top of the slot canyon and the base of Red Cathedral. The view at the top here is spectacular! After enjoying the top, head back down and out of the slot canyon. Then either hike back down Golden Canyon to the trailhead, or extend the hike and take the junction for Gower Gultch. As anywhere in DVNP, the heat can be extreme, even outside of summer. Carry extra water!

hiking
off trail
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

Quite minimalistic short hike with a lot of rocks and few shaded areas. Get more water with you and stay away during windy conditions. We got into flying sand and dust on a stormy day.

hiking
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

We did this trail up to the point of needing "to scramble" to get to the top of red cathedral. It was easy to that point with gorgeous views while walking inside the canyon. We did not continue for the last bit because it appeared to involve climbing loose rocks and unsafe for this older lady. It would not have been feasible to carry or use my hiking stick.

hiking
1 month ago

Definitely not moderate but mostly easy: it is pretty flat. Bring lots of water, the temperature and dryness are very high in the canyon. The view is nice on red cathedral and the canyon itself but it is much better to go toward Manly Beacon and climb the hill in front of the base of the beacon. There you have a 360 view on everything you can see in the area.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Pretty easy trail to the Cathedral, although the last 500 feet of so you have to scramble and squeeze to get to the base. Scramble up the trails from the base to get outstanding views of the canyon. to the Did it late in the and hiked mostly in shade courtesy of the setting sun.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

hiking
off trail
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

I did not follow this trail exactly because there are so many off-trail paths that will take you towards the red cathedral if you just head east. You can literally explore this place for hours and never cross the same path twice which is amazing. The main trail was overcrowded with lots of families/groups. The climb up to the red cathedral plateau is more difficult (lots of slippery gravel and rock climbing), but so worth it!! We got up there by sunset and we’re the only ones by then, and the view was beautiful.

Nice trail that ends with a good view of the Red Cathedral. This trail does get a little busy. If you are looking for a quieter trail I would recommend Desolation Canyon which is about a mile further up the road. Desolation Canyon does not offer a view of Red Cathedral.

recorded Recording - Apr 22, 01:51 PM

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful trail, at least the golden canyon portion. Definitely do not recommend starting trail at 1pm....

walking
8 months ago

Our intent was to hike the loop from Zabriskie to here but due to extremely high winds at our campground the night before which destroyed our tent, we had to cut our trip short and jam pack everything into one more day. So we just walked into the canyon a little ways. Very beautiful. Tips: 1. Get there early to get parking - this is a popular stop. 2. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen if you plan on doing any extensive hiking in the canyon - it's very sunny and hot.

hiking
8 months ago

Maybe it's popular because it's the only "easy" hike in death valley. I found it underwhelming. The final view is also sort of the same you would get at the zabriskie point.

hiking
8 months ago

Arrived early to be the crowd. Hike was easy with different views every few yards. The Red Cathedral is a definite must if you're in Death Valley

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike, and nearly no people if you are there early (I started about 6:30). I went over my spring break and thought it would be crazy busy, but the only crowded place was further down the trail near Zabriskie Point. Hiking to Red Cathedral would probably not be a problem for kids, since this part of the loop is less than 3 miles.

hiking
9 months ago

We did this right at sunset. So we chose to only do part of the golden canyon and then sat high enough to watch the sun set over the canyon. Very pretty and not crowded at all from this side of the canyon. It was a great way to end the day in Death Valley!

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Make sure to look for the sign so that you don’t go off on the wrong trail.

hiking
10 months ago

Better than creek walking - Climbing Up the wadis is so much fun. You could spend hours climbing around the sides of the canyon walls.

hiking
11 months ago

Easy hike. Great views inside Canyon. Went off on a couple different branches of the canyon as the trail wasn’t clearly marked as you got deeper in. Recommend using the map in the app to help.

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